March 28, 2010

Vegan Sloppy Joes

I had an unfortunate recipe FAIL a couple days ago.  No, it wasn't this recipe; I wouldn't do that to you.  It was an experiment, and it seemed like a good one at first.  It tasted pretty good on the first day, too but, unfortunately, I couldn't bring myself to eat the leftovers; they went straight into the trash-- something that hardly ever happens in my apartment (I hate wasting food!).  What were they, you ask?  Well, they were... cauliflower and white bean mashed "potatoes."

I really thought I had a good idea going with these.  Cauliflower and white beans are the same color as potatoes, they can be easily pureed in the Cuisinart to resemble potatoes, and with some sauteed leeks and a little bit of butter mixed in they'll surely taste like potatoes, right?  Wrong.  I'm not even sure what was so wrong about them, they did look like potatoes and they kind of did taste like potatoes but something was terribly off.  And after a bit of time melding in the fridge, they took a turn for the worst.

This vegan sloppy joe recipe, however, is a perfect example of how traditionally not-so-healthy dishes can be made healthier.  Yes, the mashed "potatoes" were a fail, but these sloppy joes, or snobby joes as they're called in Veganomicon, are a win. 

Vegan Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Veganomicon via theppk
1 cup uncooked lentils [I used red lentils]
4 cups water

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer until lentils are soft (some varieties cook faster than others so the time will depend on what type of lentils you're using-- red lentils cook very quickly). Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, preheat a medium soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and pepper in the oil for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and heat through.

Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can't wait. These are great on a toasted roll, over salad, or atop a piece of bread with a runny-yolked over-easy egg (but what's not great like that?).

March 20, 2010

This is my 100th Post!

Crazy! Since I now have 100 posts, I thought it might be nice to re-cap some of my favorite recipes, so here goes:

Everyday Yellow Dal- Warming, hearty, simple, and authentic tasting. I heart Indian food.

 Wheat Germ and Banana Muffins- This is recipe is always reliable and the perfect way to use up over-ripe bananas.  The wheat germ adds a great flavor and texture, too.

Almond Biscotti- This was my first time making biscotti and it was a success! These are a great gift because they keep well and aren't overly sugary or fatty. Plus, they're absolutely lovely dipped into a hot latte.
Ratatouille- Healthy comfort food.  I could have ate this all winter.
Raw Brownie Bites- Rawesome! These were a great stepping stone into experimenting with raw desserts and they taste like brownie batter; that's a win-win in my book.

 Homemade Hummus: Revised- Who doesn't like hummus? Seriously.  This is my standby, though these days I add more tahini :)

 Earl Grey Tea Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting- No words here.  They may not be healthy but, they're so good, I don't care.

Mole Chili- Chili is wonderful and this one has a lot of complexity and depth of flavor.  It makes me look forward to winter.

Vegan "Meat"loaf- This picture may not be the prettiest but this meatloaf was SO good.

Revamped Pumpkin Bread- 100% wholesome, this was just as good, if not better, than the traditional stuff.

Crispy Peanut Butter Granola Bars- Much cheaper, and arguably healthier, than buying granola bars, plus,  you can customize them to your liking (this is a picture of my chocolate almond butter version).

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this recap and that it's brought you to some recipes you haven't seen before or that you'd like to revisit.  From the looks of things, it seems like I enjoy eating mushy foods and semi-wholesome sweets but, I promise you, there is more to me than that! haha.

March 16, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

A few days ago, I was in a muffin making mood, as I often am, and knew that Morning Glory Muffins would be perfect for my newest baking experiment.  These muffins came back into my life this past weekend when I was visiting one of my old college roommates (and best friends, hi Pamela!).  I had a vegan Morning Glory at a lovely lunch spot in Nashville and though it was good, it wasn't quite as transcendent as the surely less healthy one I'd had in Nantucket last summer.  Oddly enough, in doing some research online (yes, I do muffin research... it's very technical), I found that Nantucket is where these muffins originated

If you haven't heard of Morning Glory Muffins before, I suggest you listen up; they're jam packed with all kinds of healthy ingredients from carrots to apple to pineapple to raisins, and coconut, and walnuts-- quite a mouthful, literally.  The only problem is that the traditional muffins, and probably the one's you'll find in most bakeries, hide all these wholesome ingredients under too much sugar, refined flour, and oil.

I set out to make a more wholesome Morning Glory and I think I was pretty successful.   I love all the different flavors and textures present in these muffins.  Sometimes, when I eat them, I seek out the plump golden raisins, other times, it's the tiny chunks of pineapple.  My only complaint would be that they could have been slightly more moist, so I've added a bit of almond or coconut milk into the recipe below. 

I also sort of wished I could taste the pineapple a bit more.  I used 3/4 cup of canned crushed pineapple and while I could taste it, the flavor wasn't as strong as I'd hoped, perhaps using fresh would have yielded a stronger flavor?  Nevertheless, I really like these muffins and I don't feel guilty about eating them.  They're full of fruits and vegetables, relatively low in sugar (all of which is natural), made with 100% whole grain flours, and have hardly any added fat.  They also taste just wonderful toasted and topped with a smear of coconut oil.  Yum.

Morning Glory Muffins

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3- 1/2 cup sucanat (depending on how sweet you want them)
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots, grated (about 3 medium)
1 large apple, grated [I used a Fuji]
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained [make sure to get a variety that's packed in juice, not syrup. You could also use fresh pineapple and chop it finely]
2/3 cup golden raisins
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons oil of choice [I used sweet almond oil]
1- 3 tablespoons almond milk or coconut milk (add as needed)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a muffin tin.

Mix the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. In a medium bowl add the carrot, apple, pineapple and golden raisins and set aside. In a small bowl, mix the eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon almond milk.

Pour the fruit and vegetable mixture and the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined. If the mixture seems too thick, add 1-2 tablespoon more almond or coconut milk.

Spoon batter into muffin tins so that each one is 3/4 full-- should yield about 16 muffins. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.

March 13, 2010

West African Chicken and Peanut Stew

I made this back in February. Wow, does time fly. For some reason, last month, I didn't really feel like blogging. Sometimes I just want to eat my food without taking pictures or writing down my recipe modifications. But don't get me wrong, I love having all my recipes together in one place and watching my cooking style evolve. More than that, I love hearing feedback from people-- especially if they've had success with one of my recipes.

This stew was really wonderful, though maybe there was a tad too much peanut butter if that's even possible.  If you're a vegetarian, I think it would be great with tempeh or tofu, and maybe even chickpeas?  It was also extremely filling-- probably all that peanut butter.  Since I'm not a big meat eater, I only used half the amount of chicken called for but kept the measurements for the sauce the same.  Needless to say, I had a lot of sauce so I served it over a bed of spinach to get some more vegetables into the meal.  The sauce is definitely a keeper; it's thick, creamy, rich, and just perfect for soaking up with warm pita wedges.

West African Chicken and Peanut Stew
The recipe below contains my modifications.  I halved the amount of chicken so I would have more sauce, halved the amount of ginger, and increased the amount of jalapeno.  In the recipe below, I also decreased the amount of peanut butter from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.  I didn't do this when I made it, but as I said above, I think it had a bit too much peanut butter, which made it a little too filling for me-- I wanted to eat more because it tasted so good but I was stuffed!
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced ginger root
1 finely minced jalapeno
salt to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup natural chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups diced, cooked chicken
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3-4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced

Finely chop the red onion, ginger, and jalapeno, and roughly chop the chicken. Heat oil in a heavy pan, add finely diced onion, ginger, and jalapenos, season with salt, and saute about 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, stir into other ingredients, and saute about 1 minute more.

Add chicken stock, peanut butter, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar, stir, and bring to a slight boil. As soon as it starts to boil, lower heat to a very gentle simmer, add roughly chopped chicken, gently stir to combine, and let simmer 10-15 minutes.
While mixture simmers, wash, dry, and slice green onions. After 10-15 minutes, gently stir again if the oil from the peanut butter has separated. Serve hot, with a generous handful of green onion slices on each serving.